Surviving nuclear bombardment and creating for joy: Issei Miyake is the designer who created origami clothing and later became a philosopher
Surviving nuclear bombardment and creating for joy: Issei Miyake is the designer who created origami clothing and later became a philosopher
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Issei Miyake is a designer, inventor, philosopher

He was seven years old when Hiroshima was bombed. In 1945, he lost his entire family … and years later he created clothes and fragrances that make people happy. He studied graphic design but became famous as a fashion designer and inventor. He said that clothing is an art, but he also paid great attention to technology. Issei Miyake - the first designer who laid the principle of origami in the basis of clothing production, a philosopher, scientist and artist.

The Miyake models are based on the origami principle

Miyake has never been in the forefront of the fashion industry, but has always worked "for the future." He has many fans and followers around the world, but he is little known to the general public. Issei Miyake abandoned the race for trends and shocking, relying, first of all, on taking care of the consumer. Science and philosophy interested him more than enrichment.

Sketches by Miyake

He is an innovator, he is an inventor - but not that calculating engineer who creates something new in order to sell at a higher price, shock, impose technocratic thinking.

Miyake is an inventor and romantic

He is an artist. Clothing for him is a piece of art that evokes emotions. Despite his scientific accomplishments, he insists that he works with the senses, not technology.

Issei Miyake believes that clothing should evoke emotion

He is a genius and a rebel - but not inclined to work alone. Issei Miyake has always surrounded himself with the best engineers and artists, believing in the power of collective intelligence.

Issei Miyake strives for consumer comfort

In Japanese, there are three words for clothing - a word for western clothing, a word for oriental clothing, and a word for clothing “in general”. The latter is ambiguous - it can also mean "luck" and "joy". When the designer Issei Miyake is asked what kind of clothes he creates, he says, "I create joy."

Miyake says she creates clothes for joy

Issei Miyake stands out among the avant-garde Japanese designers, passionate about black, deconstruction and fusion of Western and Eastern traditions. There is no uniform style in his collections, he has no favorite forms, each collection is not like the previous one.

Miyake's art remains a soft and unobtrusive provocation

He dreamed of creating new, versatile clothing - the clothing of the future. Forty-five years ago, he formulated the concept of a "piece of fabric": the most simple cut and complete freedom of variation, a piece of fabric wrapped around the body, equipped with slits and a minimum of details, allowing you to change the silhouette and purpose of the thing.

The designer is inspired by the idea

His task as a designer is not to present a ready-made image, but to stimulate the imagination of the consumer, to be not a dictator, but a partner, friend, colleague. “Without the ingenuity of those who will wear it, my clothes are not clothes,” says Miyake, urging clients to be creative.

Models by Issei Miyake

His futuristic things are created for real life - they are comfortable, functional, suitable for people with any body, do not require special care and do not constrain movement.

Miyake's futuristic clothes can be worn in real life

He loves basic shapes - a circle, a square, a rectangle. Its cut is fundamentally different, different from the European approach to the design of things based on construction: complex silhouettes are created from simple fabric cuts, draped in a special way.

Issei Miyake loves simple shapes

Shirring, bending, pleating are his favorite motives. But the designer hates fasteners - he believes that they are limiting.

Miyake prefers complex and interesting textures

Miyake has never been entirely faithful to the Japanese tradition, although his first collection in the United States was devoted to yakuza tattoos.He draws inspiration from world culture - European painting, Moroccan paints, African ornaments. His girlfriend Lucy Rea bequeathed her rich collection of ceramic buttons to him - and Miyake found great use for it in his collections.

Issei Miyake draws inspiration from various cultures

In the choice of models and locations for the defile, Miyake is still the same cheerful rebel. Showcase in your garage, gym or swimming pool - why not? At the very beginning of his career, he shocked the audience by recruiting exclusively black models for the show. The show was called Issei Miyake and the Twelve Black Girls. Thus, he dreamed of expanding the ideas of conservative Japanese about the beauty of other races. This show gave an excellent start to the career of fashion models, whose appearance in those years was too shocking for Western fashion - for example, Grace Jones.

Miyake's shows were often shocking

However, he loved to invite as models and people "from the street", for example, elderly women - one of his models, chosen for the show in 1995, was ninety-three years old! Thus, the designer wanted to emphasize that fashion is not only the lot of young people. Today this idea is obvious - models over 60 are increasingly appearing on the catwalks, but in those days Miyake with his humanistic philosophy was incomprehensible to the public. Technology fascinated Miyake from a young age. In the 80s, he rediscovered pleating to the world.

Issei Miyake reinvented pleating in the world

Miyake thought about how to make it easier to manufacture and operate things, because spectacular designer items are usually difficult to wear and it is not clear how to care for them.

These masterpieces are comfortable to wear and easy to clean

His pleating method is based on the use of hot steam and a special weave of threads - which means that these masterpieces of design can be simply machine washed without fear of damage.

Miyake pleating is innovative

In the 90s, Miyake switched from tangible to invisible clothing - he got carried away with the creation of perfume. His first fragrance was dedicated to “moments of happiness”. Issei Miyake believes that someone should make not only functional, but also sensual, emotional clothes, aromas of irony and poetry. Today he is increasingly remembered as a perfumer. In the 2000s, he started working on three-dimensional items and accessories based on the principle of origami.

Miyake often uses origami principles

These are things without seams, created from one roll of fabric. Another discovery of the Miyake brand is a specially made fabric that shrinks and becomes voluminous under the influence of steam.

New shapes require new materials, and Miyake is working with top engineers on new fabrics

In addition, the metallized coating makes things look heavy and static - in fact, they are plastic and weightless.

Miyake suits are light and weightless

However, Miyake's interests were never limited to clothing. In 2004, he founded his own foundation, organizing exhibitions and exhibition spaces, publishing literature, supporting research in design and technology. And in 2007, the designer suddenly … disappeared. He retired to devote time to reflection and philosophy - like a true Japanese sage. However, he continues to follow the development of his own projects - and this is not the end of the story, but its new beginning.

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